Child Custody After Divorce UK banner


Child Custody After Divorce UK

  • Posted on

When you are thinking about separating or getting divorced high on your agenda will be who gets custody of the children.

In this article, our family law solicitors look at how best to agree on child custody after a UK divorce.

Online and London Family Law Solicitors

For family law legal advice call the expert London family lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.

Sorting out child custody after a UK divorce

As soon as you decide to separate you should start talking about the best arrangements for your children once you have got your divorce and reached a financial settlement. Your financial settlement might involve the sale of the family home or one of you keeping the property. Inevitably at least one of you will have to find a new home so it will be a time of uncertainty and change for the whole family.

Change should not be seen as totally negative. Many children cope well with change if their parents are accepting of the need to move on. Equally, children can pick up on vibes if a parent wants to stay in the family home or if a parent is anxious about downsizing or returning to work.

As family law solicitors we think that sorting out the best child custody arrangements for your children after your separation or divorce takes:

  1. Commitment – when you are walking away from a relationship the last thing you want to do is have intense discussions with your soon-to-be ex about child custody or the financial settlement. Sometimes it seems as if the easiest thing to say is ‘See you in court.’ That may stop the difficult discussions but applying for a child arrangement order may just increase animosity and the expense involved in your separation. Family lawyers would prefer that you spend that extra money on rehousing yourself in a house that meets your children's needs. That can often be achieved through solicitor negotiations
  2. Compromise – when it comes to your children you probably think that you should not be compromising and that your considered child custody arrangements are the best for you and your children. You may be right but if you cannot reach an agreement with your ex-husband or wife a family law judge will make a child arrangement order and impose their views on what are the best child custody and contact arrangements for your children. Sometimes reaching a compromise with your ex-partner is the better option as the parenting arrangements are ones you can both accept and live with
  3. Change - flexibility is the key to sorting out child custody and contact arrangements. Just because your ex-spouse was never home for the children’s bedtimes does not mean that he or she cannot change or that they should not get to enjoy midweek contact. If you were the cook in the family then your ex-partner can learn. The children may not get to eat as nutritious meals when with your ex but they should get to spend time with both parents as the family changes shape. Change may continue to occur with the arrival of new partners or stepchildren or revised custody or contact arrangements as the children grow up and their needs change

Legal advice on child custody and contact

Having recommended compromise and flexibility it seems odd for our family law solicitors to recommend that you take family law advice on child custody and contact as you would think that your best option is to sit down with your ex-partner and reach a parenting agreement.

Taking specialist early family law advice can help you reach an agreement over child custody and contact as you may otherwise:

  • Have unrealistic expectations of the sort of arrangements you can hope to achieve or
  • Feel browbeaten into accepting child custody or contact arrangements that you do not think meet your child’s needs but you assume you would end up ‘worse off’ if the court was asked to make a child arrangement order

A family law solicitor can help you with:

  1. Dispelling common myths – for example, mothers do not always get custody of their children. For example, shared parenting does not mean that your child is divided equally in two with each parent spending exactly 3.5 days per week with the child
  2. Understanding the law on child custody and contact– so you know what a child arrangement order is and the variety of shared care and contact arrangements that can form part of a child arrangement order or parenting plan agreed by parents. Knowing what the court may order can help you reach a compromise and a parenting agreement
  3. Realising the limits of child custody – you may be opposed to the children living with your ex because you do not want them to win or to have complete control. If children live with one parent the other parent still retains their parental responsibility for their children and is entitled to have their say on important parenting decisions, such as choice of school. If you cannot agree on an aspect of parenting, you or the other parent can apply to the family court for a specific issue order. For example, if there is a dispute over whether your child should be vaccinated. Even if a child arrangement order is made that says the children are to live with the other parent and have contact with you, their other parent cannot take the children abroad on holiday for more than 4 weeks at a time without your agreement or a court order. Nor can the other parent relocate overseas with the children without your agreement or a court order
  4. Understanding the interplay between child custody and the financial settlement – you may suspect that your ex-partner wants the children to live with them so they can keep the house or get more equity on the sale of the family home or so they can get you to pay child support for the children. Family law solicitors will tell you that when determining a child arrangement order application, the family court looks at the best parenting arrangements for your children without factoring in financial matters. It is also important to understand that even if your ex gets ‘custody because he or she gets the children on 4 out of 7 nights per week, you will also need sufficient money from the financial settlement to allow you to find a home large enough to accommodate the children whilst they are spending time with you

Our family law solicitors provide pragmatic family law advice to help you resolve child custody or contact disputes through:

  • Solicitor negotiations including solicitor letters or roundtable meetings
  • Direct discussions
  • Family mediation
  • Family arbitration
  • Child arrangement order proceedings

Online and London Family Law Solicitors

For family law legal advice call the expert London family lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.

Related Posts

Christmas Contact for Separated and Divorced Parents

Court Jurisdiction to Apply for a Child Arrangement Order

How to Choose a London Family Law Solicitor

Divorce On The Cheap

Contact after Separation or Divorce – Who Pays?

How does the court divide assets on divorce? - OTS Solicitors

    Get in touch

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.